Serving police officer accused of sexually abusing young girl told her he was

A serving police officer told a young girl he is alleged to have abused that he was lonely and wanted a girlfriend, a court has heard.

John Stringer, 41, who works for Gwent Police in southeast Wales is on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting the girl who is under 13, causing or inciting her to engage in sexual activity and causing her to watch a sexual act.

The girl’s father told the court how his daughter had described having “inappropriate” conversations with the defendant, as he gave evidence on Tuesday at Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday.

He told prosecutor Ian Wright: “There has been occasions where she has come to us and said how John has told her things about his private life that we thought were a little bit not quite right for a young girl.

“(She) told us how John told her that he was lonely.”

The girl’s mother told the jury: “She would say that he’d said he wanted a girlfriend and that he missed his previous partner.

“She would say to me that he would chat to her about his loneliness and that… he was lonely without a girlfriend, and I would say you don’t need to have those conversations, it’s not really appropriate.”

She said she queried why an adult would tell a small child they were lonely.

The parents said that although they felt uncomfortable hearing about the conversations between their daughter and the defendant, they did not confront him.

The court previously heard from Mr Wright who said the defendant’s alleged abuse came to light after the girl made a disclosure to a teaching assistant at her primary school.

The school in Cardiff notified her parents and South Wales Police immediately.

Officers from the force then interviewed her on 15 July 2021.

The jury previously watched the girl’s interview with police during which she told an officer that Stringer had touched her inappropriately under a blanket and her clothing and would show her pornographic videos with half-naked women in them and ask her to “mimic” the actions of the performers.

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She told them there had been a break in the alleged offending during two of the COVID lockdowns and when the restrictions eased the sexual abuse resumed.

A transcript of Stringer’s police interview in which he repeatedly denied the girl’s account of events was read to the court by Mr Wright and the officer in the case (OIC) Detective Constable Abbie Voice.

Another witness, who was a friend of the defendant said she had known him for 24 years but had lost contact with him for time when he moved to New Zealand to play rugby.

The woman told the court “he’s always been quieter” and “a private man”.

She said she had “no concern at all” about Stringer’s behaviour around children. Stringer, who is from Cardiff and was known to the girl, has pleaded not guilty to all five charges against him.

The trial continues.

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